A SUMMARY OF V'ETCHANAN, Deut. 3:23-7:11.
Moshe pleads to live and complete his experience of Divinity by experiencing the GOOD LAND, Israel-- especially the GOOD MOUNTAIN AND LEVANON (= Jerusalem and the Temple- 3:25, Yoma 39). Israel, Jerusalem, and the Temple progressively link man with ultimate good- God. Tho God's glory fills the world, meeting Him out there is like meeting a multi- national executive in one of his many global offices; the seemingly grand experience pales in comparison to meeting him at home, especially in his den with his pipe and slippers. So Ziggy's universal impersonal Lord of the Sunset is revealed as the loving God of Infinity in Yerushalayim. The Kotzker Rebbe, Ohel Moshe, interprets Moshe's prayer- May I see the GOOD SIDE of Israel (sometimes hard, cf.the spies & today). Per Ramban, a GOOD land is one suitable for its inhabitants; Rav J. B. Soloveichik relates this to the difficulties in developing Israel- it's NOT naturally and easily good; so those who DO develop its potential, thru hard work, become strong and capable- GOOD people. So it is a BROADENING land because it's not broad! Each natural area produces a different personality- the mountain man, the sea man, the plains man, etc. One's personality is broadened as she experiences Israel's most variegated topography and climate, BECAUSE it's small and all is reachable. God denies Moshe's request- he may take a good look at Israel, but Yehoshua's hour of leadership has come.
CH. 4: Israel must strictly keep God's law in Israel- only it (not soccer or Dizengoff cafes) will give Israel great international repute. The trees of precise scientific Torah observance must not even be lost in the forest of religious ecstasy. Long perspiration precedes true inspiration- cf. scientific research; the result is worth it- yet the Jews mustn't lose awareness of God's great Revelation at Sinai; the detailed 613 mitzvos must not become a mechanical uninspired routine, detached from the experience of God. No representation is to be made of Him, nor of any natural entity, for worship. Generations after conquest of Israel, the Jews will serve idols; then God will exile and scatter them to lands where the few survivors will worship wood and stone (materialism?). Even there, they'll find God if they really seek Him. He'll never forget the patriarchal covenant. Exodus, Sinai, and the miraculous conquest of Israel are unique Jewish experiences. Reflection upon them and observance of the Law yield Israel success. Moshe set aside 3 Transjordanian cities of refuge.
CH. 5: Moshe again teaches the Decalogue, 10 root principles of the 613 commandments; he recalls its Revelation and Israel's request that he, not God, continue. CH. 6: Moshe proclaims Shma, a declaration of God's Oneness and Allness. Israel repeats it twice daily; it is to permeate every aspect and moment of Jewish life, to be passed on to each new generation- "Hear, O' Israel, God (of infinity and relationship) is (also) our Lord (of Nature and its laws of limits)- God is One". Revelation and Response, an infinitely intense love relationship between Man and God, is celebrated in Song of Songs.
God warns that the forthcoming State of Israel may forget its Divine origin, its mission to be a model holy nation. Easily earned wealth and comfort in Israel, living off others' labor (today?), may erode commitment to Israel's task; the Jews may even turn to corrupt idolatrous lifestyles, ending their good Israeli existence- but YOU SHALL DO THAT RIGHT AND GOOD IN GOD'S EYES, THAT HE BE GOOD TO YOU, THAT YOU COME AND INHERIT THE GOOD LAND WHICH GOD PROMISED YOUR FATHERS. Israel's enemies will then disappear. The Exodus saga, Re-Creation, must be repeated and relived in each generation- it's the basis of Torah observance. CH. 7: Israel is to make no deals with their powerful enemies after their Divine aided victory. All vestiges of idolatry are to be destroyed.
THE HAFTORA, IS. 40:1-26, begins 7 haftorot of consolation, after 3 of disaster and exile. Restoration of ruptured relationships is gradual. God at first only urges others (e.g. prophets) to comfort Israel; they feel rejected, tho blessed. As after obtaining atonement for the Calf sin, the Jews are NOT content with material and martial success in Israel- the secular Zionist dream. They also want God IN THEIR MIDST- the religious Zionist dream.
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